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28 January 2011, 16:35
Police from around the region converged on Bedfordshire on Thursday 27 January 2011 as part of a major operation to disrupt and detect those using the county’s roads to commit crime.
Officers from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, plus Bedfordshire Police Special Constables took part in Operation Utah involving more than 200 personnel working at locations around the county. The Operation ran from 10am to 4pm as Police targeted a variety of crimes including drug dealing, burglary, insurance and car tax evasion.
Also involved were enforcement teams from the DVLA; Department of Work and Pensions; Vehicle Operating Standards Agency (who regulate HGV safety); Her Majesty’s Courts Warrant Service (responsible for locating those who have skipped bail or not paid their court fines); Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs who have a particular interest in illegal use of “red diesel”; and the UK Boarders Agency.
A number of key areas on the M1 and in the Luton area where targeted, with vehicles being taken to a location in Luton for processing.
· 108 cars and vans were processed through the site in a five hour period.
· 14 arrests were made - two for theft of vehicle, two for driving whilst disqualified, seven for drugs offences ranging from possession to possession with intent to supply, two immigration arrests, one for being in the country illegally and one for obstruction of police.
· 21 vehicles seized under S165 for having no insurance and driving licence offences
· 35 vehicles prohibited by VOSA - all the vehicles had defects ranging from dangerous parts, bald tyres and illegally tinted windows (too dark).
· 5 vehicles seized or immobilised by DVLA for having no tax
· 2 cars removed by Marston (civil) warrants in lieu of four warrants totally £1500
· 5 warrants executed (paid) by Marston Warrants totalling £2000
· DWP dealt with 4 people for claiming benefit when not entitled - two for incapacity benefit, one income support and one living together.
· Council environmental health dealt with all van regarding waste disposal.
Chief Inspector Jane Aspin, Bedfordshire’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “This was not about targeting the law abiding motorists but stopping those who use the roads to commit crime. The operation sends a clear message to criminals - burglars, drug dealers and many other types of criminals who use cars or access to vehicles to transport them around the country to their next crime will be detected. By using intelligence and technology combined we are able to stop them in their tracks.”
‘Utah’ is the name given to the regional operation, which takes place in every county across the Eastern Region throughout 2010. Bedfordshire last hosted the operation in January 2010.